How do find it in you to not give up trying?
I can feel myself growing colder towards my husband, and I don’t know that it’s something that I feel inclined to work at halting. I love him fiercely, and I find him incredibly sexy, but… I just feel done pursuing him. I have struggled so much, and so hard, to not be tempted by other men trying to seduce me. A part of me is angry, so angry that I can’t count on my husband to help me through this, so I’m not constantly burning.
It is so tempting to just shut down and to become a refuser myself. I can’t help but protest at being used by him sporadically, however and whenever it eventually pleases him, while he ignores my needs. I do worry that it would tank our relationship though, if I were to erect boundaries around this area of our interaction. He’s my best friend. I don’t want to lose him or leave him. I’m just so tired of trying to fix our intimacy issues. We’ve been broken for 19 years. I’m losing all hope that this can ever be made right between us. I just… want to give up. I don’t know if that is sinful or wrong, but I’m beginning to not care.
Oh sister, I have been there (hugs). Circumstances may be different but your emotions, your feelings, could have been…no, they were my words.
Just to cover the bases…. Have you done everything you can to confront him on his behavior? One on one, with sharing your needs? Having another come with you in confronting, a friend of his or both of yours, an accountability partner, or a spiritual mentor? Have you gone to your pastor? Have you tried counseling?
I did everything, and nothing impacted change beyond a day or two. It ended up being me hitting bottom, and getting to the end of my rope…. my husband seeing me actually seek out prayer and counsel because I wanted to walk away from ministry and marriage, that jolted him with the fear of the reality that he could actually lose me, that his eyes were open and he immediately made shifts and started being intentional on changing.
I didn’t use it as an ultimatum or a threat. I didn’t make things conditional and set up rules he had to follow for him to keep me or lose me. This really was not about him but me. I couldn’t do it any more. I couldn’t live the rest of my life this way. But also I knew that I couldn’t just walk away, even though I overwhelmingly wanted to and thought that it was my only option of relief from the crushing burden I was carrying. That all led me to seek out prayer (privately, one on one, but publicly, in front of a church and my family) and counsel. I was later honest with my husband on why. The man I went to for prayer, was an older man my husband had worked with off and on, and understood our ministry situation and my husband’s personality. He and his wife offered to meet with us that same week. After that, we got into counseling/therapy.
On the other side, but still not fully out, I am still trying to make sense of it. Realize there are multiple layers here that this is about and needs addressed. Yes, this seems like it’s mainly about your husband and your marriage, and God does want to do a work there. But ultimately, I think it’s about you and Him. I could share some of the deep lessons He taught me, and how He revealed more of His character and His truly unconditional love for me. But I don’t want this to get too long or bore everyone. But one thing, my most recent lesson, and a Biblical truth, there has to be a death of something for a new thing to live. John 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
I can still recall the moment a hope in me died. I remember the circumstances, the emotions, and that feeling of death take place. After that, I became detached from my husband, and it was less than a year later I hit that bottom. But here is the one hope that never died. It was my ONLY hope. And it’s a hope you can hold onto….. that hope is in our Resurrected God. The One who can raise the dead from the grave, and breathe life back into the dead. With Christ Jesus it is always too early to give up hope.
I may not have answers, but I can give comfort to you as God has comforted me, if you desire to have a friend sit beside you and walk beside you, to have one who has a listening ear, who will be honest, and will lift you up in prayer, as one who has walked a similar path, you are welcome to PM me. Hugs and prayers!
WG, so sorry to hear of your predicament. I agree with JB that if you haven’t already done so, please pursue a Christian counselor.
To answer your question as it relates to myself, my first response is by nurturing my relationship with Jesus. It is my commitment to Him that is the basis for my commitment to DW, our marriage, to family, to service in the Kingdom, etc. Secondly, it is through my relationship with Jesus that I have the power of God (Holy Spirit) to help me – to do what I can and to do what I should. In many areas of my life, if it wasn’t for the availability of God’s power, I wouldn’t be able to make it through difficult times. And prayer and trust in God have been my way of warding off discouragement in the difficult times I have faced.
Do you have some free time each day to find rest and shalom?
Do you have a close friend or relative or accountability partner to walk with you?
In what setting do you and your DH have the best talks? Try to nurture such settings. Perhaps set some guidelines so those times don’t go badly and end up hurting you more as you seek to be vulnerable with him.
I’m sorry you’re going through this 🙁
Could you provide more details on the situation? Is he refusing to care for your emotional needs in general (affection, intimate conversation, help around the house, etc.), or is the issue exclusively about sex?
Would you share what happened 19 years ago? How did this all start?
What happened 19 years ago is… we got married. lol We’ve struggled with our sex life from the very beginning. We get along well. He is my best friend. We typically have no issues with communication, and talking isn’t difficult, as a rule. There are times, once in a while, when he clams up and doesn’t care to talk about things that are bothering him, but it’s rare. Honestly, the only area where we can’t seem to find contentment is in our sex life. I have asked him to try counseling, but he refuses. I haven’t spoken to anyone else about the situation, because it would be incredibly uncomfortable for both of us. I don’t know that I want any of our familiars to know the intimate details of our sex life.
Hi WrenGray, I clicked on your username and read your descriptions of the problem that you shared in June. It can be really hard to remember everyone’s situations. Once I read your story, I remembered it, but had forgotten whose story it was.
Is your husband using pornography at this time?
You have my deepest sympathies. I know you have sought individual counseling, but said that they were uncomfortable addressing the problems. I wanted to suggest that the folks at Marriage Helper don’t shy away from the messy problems, in fact I think that’s their specialty. (In case you wanted to try again, but I don’t blame you if you don’t.)
I see, lol 😀 I’m happy to hear you guys have a great friendship though! That makes progress at least attainable. Once good-will between spouses has been lost, a marriage has little hope.
That’s understandable 🙂 What do you feel is missing from your sexual relationship? If you were given 3 “sex wishes”, what would you do with them? How would you like your sex life to change/improve?
Hmm. Mostly… sex is missing. My husband has a very low drive, and is completely comfortable with brushing me off or ignoring my advances. When he does decide that he wants sex, it’s whatever HE wants. If I protest at all, he’s perfectly fine with withholding sex. It would be great to have a partner who desired me. It’d be super neat if he wanted to touch and kiss me, especially if it were more than the barest minimum to be able to … gain entry. I’d also enjoy it if my orgasm was considered important.
Well, I have a little trouble (and I’m sure you have as well) reconciling him being your best friend, while at the same time not caring about whether you’re happy, and sexually fulfilled. A tree is known by his fruit, actions speak louder than words (Matthew 6:17).
There are two approaches, and you’ll either be applying to his empathetic motive, or selfish motive.
Applying to his empathetic motive, would be sitting him down when you both have time to talk, and telling him that you’re unhappy. That his lack of sexual desire for you, and lack of sexual attentiveness (orgasms, wanting to rock your world), hurts you, and is ruining your otherwise fulfilling relationship. You would then ask him to attend counseling with you, and go to a doctor to have his testosterone levels tested. If he protests, tell him that these things are very important to you, that you think a therapist and doctors visit will help address the issues you mentioned, and that it would mean a lot to you if he agreed to go.
If he agrees, then proceed and see if therapy and the doctors visit reveal anything.
If he still refuses, then that would put you in a tough position. You’d have to decide whether you’re going to suck it up and live this way for the rest of your life. Or whether you’re going to refuse his selfishness and neglect, and put boundaries in place.
This option would consist of you thinking it through, and deciding what you are, and are no longer willing to tolerate. As well as things you are no longer going to do for him. Example: “If you aren’t going to have sex with me, then I don’t want you in our bed any more. I moved your stuff to the spare room while you were at work. Have a nice night.”.
The general idea is that you give him the same medicine he’s feeding you, and thus (hopefully) train him to start abiding by the golden rule.
You don’t have to begin by kicking him out of the bedroom, but it’s an idea. Not preparing his meals, not washing his clothes, not speaking to him about his favorite whatever… all of those are boundaries you can put in place that communicate “You reap what you sow. If you want an attentive wife who fulfills you, then be an attentive husband who fulfills me”.
I said that he was my best friend, not that he was the best friend that he could be. lol In so many ways, he is generous and kind, giving and thoughtful. When it comes to sex though? Noooo. Not at all.
When we first started “dating”, I wasn’t a believer, and he was …. nominal. So, it’s understandable that we didn’t really blink an eye over having sex before we were married. During that time, I think that he was so starved for intimacy, he would have done just about anything for some touch. He was completely unskilled, but at least he had desire, and that meant the most to me. It was blissful for me, as I believe that he was concerned about my opinion of him, as a lover. So, he did all of those things that I need, just because he was enjoying me, and wanted to keep my attention.
After a couple of decades, he’s no longer very concerned about my opinion of him as a lover, nor terribly desirous of my attention. Much of the time, I believe that he is mildly annoyed with me, because he finds my sexual advances to be bothersome. Now, I can be coming onto him hard, touching both of us and inviting him to come and play, and he just gives me a look and rolls over with his back to me. If there’s a sure-fire way to squash my inconvenient desire, that’s certainly it. He’s had his testosterone checked. It was on the lower end of normal. He did at least do that for me, when I firmly “asked’. He refuses therapy, but would at least humble himself enough to tell his doctor that he was concerned about his low drive.
Frankly, I can handle the reality that he doesn’t want sex as much as I do. I am happy to cuddle him and watch movies, if that is what he wants. We can hold hands while drinking beer and watching the fights. The thing is, it’s not that he really has a low drive. That man would take oral sex daily, even if he initially didn’t think that he really wanted it, just because he knew that at some point… yeah, he’s going to enjoy himself. He just doesn’t want the inconvenience of having to do a darned thing for me. He’s come right out and told me that he’ll fake being asleep, because he wants to avoid having sex with me, because it didn’t seem “worth the effort”. That’s super flattering. : / He’s just selfish and lazy. I know it. He admits it. But then what?
I have such a hard time being “at war” with him. He thinks that I’m being foolish to “pick a fight” with him over sex, when the other many facets of our relationship are so shiny and going well. I wonder if he’s right, honestly. Is sex worth fighting over? For him, it’s not. He’s said that sex isn’t an emotional thing for him. He’s content with a little spooning, so he can feel relaxed enough to fall asleep a few moments later. That’s all that it honestly seems to be for him. I’ve struggled with whether I even have it in me to fight for something, knowing that any intimacy that I feel as a result of sex with him, is just one-sided. I could draw lines in the sand, put my foot down, and hope that he gets tired of being at odds with me, and bends. I just don’t know that I have it in me. I don’t know what I’m fighting for anymore. I wanted to a deeper one-flesh relationship, and I don’t know that that is a thing that we can have together. I just feel like I’m his good buddy, someone to share household responsibilities with, someone to split a pizza with while watching a movie. The more romantic and intimate aspects of my nature are without value, and undesirable to him. All that really matters is if I’m chill, and can suck the white off of rice. I honestly love hanging with him, and doing all the rest of life. It’s pretty much what I’ve got. The idea of endangering that, for the sake of sex, when I know that his heart isn’t in it? It seems like all I’d really accomplish is stealing from myself the only good thing that I’ve got.